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The Rachel Maddow Show

News/Business. (2012)




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Us 21, Manhattan 10, Brooklyn 8, Sandy 7, New York City 7, Virginia 7, Msnbc 5, Chester 4, Maryland 4, Queens 4, Superstorm Sandy 3, North Carolina 3, Connecticut 3, Anna Kate Twitty 2, Wrc 2, Dewey 2, Johnson 2, Melissa 2, Chris Jansing 2, Aaron Donovan 2,
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  MSNBC    The Rachel Maddow Show    News/Business.  (2012)  

    October 30, 2012
    1:00 - 2:00am PDT  

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. superstorm sandy has pounded huge portions of the northeast
and mid-atlantic at this hour, we know at least 16 people have died. more than 7 million people have been plunged into the dark and local officials have been stunned by the damage and devastation. good tuesday morning. i'm chris jansing reporting live from new york and parts of new york city are underwater this morning. the images from lower manhattan shows cars half submerged. tunnels, subways and the financial district flooded. all of lower manhattan is in the dark. some of those outages caused by a con ed substation that exploded overnight. more than 1.5 million have lost power across new york city, long island and westchester. now we also want to show you these pictures from breezy point, queens, at least 50 homes have been destroyed by fire. further east at least seven homes on fire island have fallen into the ocean. atlantic city, new jersey, took the full force of sandy when it came ashore around 8:00 last night. people that defied an evacuation
order are trapped there now. roads are impassable. serious damage is being reported in several beach communities from point pleasant to seaside heights. rescues are under way in belmar, one of several cities that saw the boardwalk ripped away. further north in hoboken, the mayor estimates half the city is underwater. 2.2 million people are without power statewide. now, in connecticut, the national guard has been helping to evacuate shoreline residents who are trapped by high waters. at least two have been killed in that state. 600,000 people are in the dark. there's also a fire burning in old saybrook, connecticut. crews can't get to the fire because the area is flooded. several feet of water there. flooding has also been reported across large parts of delaware and maryland. other parts of maryland are actually getting snow from this storm. this is garrett county in the western part of the state and west virginia is under a
blizzard warning while north carolina's governor has declared a state of emergency in 24 counties. and take a look at manhattan. this is times square. we have a live picture here. i can tell you i come to work generally around 4:30 in the morning and those streets are usually busy. there are at least cabs, a lot of delivery trucks bringing bread and food and newspapers and it's a ghost town through much of manhattan and that's what the mayor have asked for, people stay off the streets. there's still a lot of downed power lines. there's flooding. a dangerous situation in a lot of manhattan and, frankly, there's no public transportation so it's tough to get anywhere anyway. joining me on the phone now is dennis pilla, the mayor of port chester, new york, on the coast of long island sound. mr. mayor, good morning to you and how are things looking in your community? >> pretty dark. we have about half the village without power as we speak and we had historic flooding last
night. fortunately i think things could have been much worse because the high water mark of the flooding here in port chester came before high tide that second high tide. >> and yet you call it historic flooding. give us a sense of the breadth you're talking about? >> a good part of the shoreline of port chester lies at sea line and we're on the shore of the long island sound and byram river and that river crested over the seawall and flooded beyond three blocks beyond the river itself. our downtown was basically underwater. and the fire department and police department and dpw have been going at it all night. we've had transformers, about a dozen transformer explosions, telephone poles snapped in half
and many streets obstructed. we had three front loaders, these guys have been going at it for over 12 hours just pushing trees and debris out of the street so our emergency vehicles could get around to the calls for service that we experienced when once sandy hit land. >> what kind of calls for service have you had? in new york they had ten times the usual number of 911 calls and obviously they had to put out a call to people to just only call in cases of dire emergencies, but have you had dire emergencies? have you had to do rescues? >> we've had partial building collapses, roofs coming off, the red cross actually did an amazing job actually mobilizing folks in north carolina, texas, as far as north carolina, texas and as well as the greater new york area. at our local high school we have 57 people in the shelter now. so, yeah, it was quite the scene. >> so where do you even start in the morning, mayor? >> well, we're going to do
village -- data assessment at 7:00 once the sun comes up and really first and foremost will be working with con ed to make sure we can get power restored to our village and see how we can help to get our downtown back to being the vibrant commerce center that it was before sandy arrived. >> unbelievable. dennis pilla, the mayor of port chester, new york, good luck to you and thanks so much for talking to us. at the height of the storm a generator went out and 215 patients had to be evacuated from nyu medical center here in manhattan. nbc's rehema ellis has been there since the beginning of the evacuation and joins us now with an update. when we spoke last hour they were still evacuating, rehema, have they finished yet? >> reporter: not yet, chris. this has been a long night. it's often long nights in hospitals, but i'm not certain how much sleep any of these patients got because of the fact
that they had to be transported and as i say, even as we're speaking now this has been going on for several hours all through the night trying to make certain they do this carefully. remember we're talking about patients, patients who are pediatric patients, some in critical care. they have to do this carefully and gingerly to make certain they don't upset these patients any more than they already by the fact that they're being brought out of this hospital. it is cold out here. it's about 50 some odd degrees and if you're in a hospital gown, a blanket over you and you're being brought out of the hospital, an oxygen mask on your face it's pretty unsettling so they're doing it as carefully and as painstakingly as they can. it's taking a long time but they're making certain they do the utmost care. >> rehema ellis, who has been up all night tracking this for us, thank you so much, rehema. and joining us on the phone new york congresswoman yvette clark, a dmg from brooklyn, good
morning, congresswoman. thanks for joining us. >> good morning, chris. >> there are quite a few who live in brooklyn whose families are in brooklyn while they're here helping to get the news out. what can you tell us about what's going on in your community? >> well, we were a bit more fortunate than some of my other colleagues in that in central brooklyn, our main problem were the high winds with the trees, and we had quite a number of trees down in the district, luckily, our electrical wires and central brooklyn are underground so we didn't have the blackouts that were reported in other parts of brooklyn, just outside of our district, however, an area that was outside of the flood zone that was identified for evacuation, the kanarsy area sustained substantial flooding and blackout so it's been a mixed
bag in brooklyn. for the most part we were able to withstand the brunt of the storm with minimal rain and electrical disruption in my district, but i know communities just outside of the boundaries of my communities that have experienced extreme flooding as well as electrical disruption. >> i'm sure you are following, congresswoman, the reports from the metropolitan transit authority that in the 108-year history of the subway system in new york, they've never seen anything like this. massive flooding. we're going to get an update in the morning but how concerned are you about the transportation situation come dawn? >> well, we're just concerned that they're able to do whatever they need to do to get the subway and bus services running once we're clear of the storm. i think that the mayor did the
right thing, the mta did the right thing by making sure that the service was shut down in advance of the storm so that we could do everything within our power to make sure that the system can be put up as soon as possible so we're hoping that will pay dividends, that we'll be able to get the system running once again and get our economy moving, get our people moving and get the city moving once again. >> and, congresswoman, let me ask you finally, i don't know how much contact you've had with federal officials, i know that the president had said earlier that he felt that the fema officials were in place at the areas where they felt they would need the most help. how confident are you that new york, that brooklyn, that throughout this region there will be enough resources to do what needs to get done? >> well, i know that there's been a lot of focus on new york
city as an area that was going to get the brunt and a large portion of the storm. i know that our governor and our mayor have the talks with the president of the united states and he has made it clear that he would do everything that he could possibly do to make sure that we received the type of support we feed to get the city moving once again. the city of new york is not only home to us, but it is also the economic engine of our nation, so i don't think that we'll be overlooked as a resource is put out to get the city moving once again. >> congresswoman yvette clarke on this early tuesday morning, thanks for being with us. >> my pleasure. now to delaware where officials say the flood damage from sandy could be equal to or greater than damage from some of the worst tropical storms in the region's history. joining me on the phone is gary lang. he is from the office of
emergency management. good morning to you. >> good morning. >> we've been having reports of what's going on in your state places like rehoboth beach, dewey beach deluged by the surging waters. what can you tell us about the situation in your state. >> they got hit with surging waters with the atlantic ocean right next door and with the heavy rains that came in with the storm. on sunday, the major route through the beach area is route 1 between dewey beach and the indian river inlet became flooded and a number of areas. that road was closed and remains closed for an indefinite period as motion of the portion of that roadway is flooded. a seven-mile stretch. >> have you had a number of rescues that you know about? will there people still trapped. >> there may be people who chose to not evacuate but we have not been made aware of any rescues that have gone on across the
state. a lot of people, it seems, took seriously the governor's order to evacuate and got to higher ground to shelters or to friends and relatives' hope. >> what will be the first order of business of your office of the office of emergency management in the morning when the sun comes up, gary. >> damage assessment will begin and the recovery effort, we have downed power lines. we have trees that are down. we have flooded roadways. crews will go out and start to alleviate those situations at the same time assessing the extent of the damage. >> well, good luck to you, gary laing communications of the delaware office of emergency management. thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us. we'll take a quick break. an update for you on that fire in old saybrook and the problems that we're seeing there and we've heard reported elsewhere that because of the conditions, flooding, downed lines, that
they can't get rescue crews there to put out the fires to help people. so we'll have an update on that. [ male announcer ] introducing zzzquil sleep-aid.
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what you don't know about flood insurance may shock you -- including the fact that a preferred risk policy starts as low as $129 a year. for an agent, call the number that appears on your screen. devastating pictures we continue to look at from breezy point, queens, the fire department of new york tweeted out that there are 50 plus homes involved in this fire, 170 firefighters on the scene and they are going to have a very long morning ahead of them. still no word on what might have caused that devastating fire.
we are also keeping our eye elsewhere in new york. we've talked a lot about lower manhattan but let me bring in herb boyd, a reporter for new york amsterdam news calling us from harlem. good morning to you. what can you tell us? >> what's happening right now is that the high winds continue, but the rain has ceased. the streets, the neighborhood i live in is strewn with all kind of branches and limbs and twigs and what have you to be expected. there are a couple of trees that i saw that was crumbled and cracked in half and one nearly fell on a car. occasional you'll see on some of the storefronts the awnings are torn apart. one of the most eerie thing to see the west side highway without traffic. >> it was a strange thing when i was coming in i guess around 8:00, 8:30 tonight, so unusual to see the streets of manhattan absolutely deserted. certainly in midtown which is
usually teeming at that time at night. seeing any downed power lines or power outages that far up in the city? >> no real sign of power outage here. you walk around and see that many of the lights are on in the streets and in the homes and in the various stores that still may have some -- that cut their lights off, but for the most part, it appears to be spared any kind of power outage up here. a nor'easter, you know how it swept through and most of lower manhattan was really hit hard. >> part of the problem if you don't live in new york city that people may not understand is with no public transportation, it becomes virtually impossible for a lot of these businesses to open for business because many of the people who work there don't necessarily live in the neighborhood. >> exactly. >> and it's hard to figure out how commerce is going to get going again until they can
figure out what to do about the subways and bus, don't you think. >> you hear the mayor tried to talk about people getting to work the best way they can. you hope they live near their place of employment but as you suggest many of us depend on the public transit system here so it's going to be very difficult for a lot of the people to get to work, for a lot of the stores to open. for a lot of the other kind of businesses and things that we depend on around here to be active at all. >> but based on what you're seeing where you are, does it look at least like further uptown in new york that there may be a relatively small amount of cleanup? >> oh, the cleanup is just extensive. i mean you walk around and you got debris all over the place. most of it is branches that have been torn away, particularly from the older trees. you have a lot of garbage, you know -- they tried to get some
of the containers emptied before the storm came but you can see the receptacles all up and down the street, so it's a lot of debris that has to be cleaned up here. >> herb boyd, a reporter for "new york amsterdam news." that up for that report. we have a affiliate in south kingstown, rhode island. a lot of flooding there. what can you tell us, mario. >> reporter: a lot of damage here. we're along the coast here on a road called matunek beach road along the ocean and historically this area suffers from beach erosion, storm surge in big storms like this. where i'm standing, i'm on someone's front steps but as we widen out it's sitting in a pile of water here detached from wherever it was supposed to be before. i mean, here's a mobile home area behind me, they're just
sitting in water. now, we're actually across the street from the beach and the ocean. what happens is the water, the storm surge is so strong the water just pushes across the road, floods this area across the street from the beach. if you were to drive up and down the main road you would just see piles and piles of sand as if it was like a snowstorm. the plows have come through. they've plowed the sand off the road because what happens is the storm surge is so strong, it literally pushes the sand and the beach right on to the road itself. so a lot of damage here, these homes are sitting in water. further up a beach that suffered beach erosion, sought cottages were washed away. several others damaged. beautiful spot in rhode island, but the down side of that being right on the water here is severe storms like this and the damage it can cause, waiting for daylight to come a lot will assess damage and cleanup here.
big damage from hurricane sandy. >> and what -- >> miami marrow hilario. >> what can you tell us about the power outages in rhode island? >> we have right now reporting more than 1100,000 customers an households out wower. that's in terms of people that several hundred thousand people in rhode island without power right now. national grid are the power utility here. they have crews staged and ready to go, several hundred cruise on the ground. the trucks are on standby in several locations just waiting for the wins to die down so it's safe enough tore the crews to get up in the bucket trucks and start clearing out the debris, the trees and fixing the power lines so right now, several, several hundred thousand people in the dark. >> all right, mario hilario on the coast of rhode island. thank you very much. we want to go to the scene of that fire that we've been showing you in old saybrook, connecticut.
amanda raus has been there. it has engulfed at least two homes. amanda, good morning to you. what's the latest? >> reporter: we are live in old saybrook. if you look over my shoulder here, you can see the fire is still burning at chalker beach. we're on sandy point road. that fire has been burning since 9:00 and looks a lot better than it has in the past few hours as it starts to burn down, the house that was standing up there now burning to the ground. the problem that we had here was that fire personnel could not get there to chalker beach. chalker beach is surrounded by water and the floods there really put the water up about three to four feet and we're actually told it's still up three to four feet so what happened was a neighbor called in the fire saying that two homes were burning over there and that neighbor actually had to be rescued because the neighbor did not heed the mandatory evacuation order that was given for chalker beach.
now, again, we are told that two homes were destroyed in that fire because firefighters couldn't get there. they actually tried to take an old army tank and get to that location, but the water was so high that the vehicle had some electrical problems and had to retreat. what we do know is that these are two summer homes. police are telling us that they know the families there and they're usually there only in the summer so we're hoping that that means that no one was inside but we really won't know too many details until fire personnel are able to get over to chalker beach. that is the very latest from old saybrook. back to you. >> amanda raus from wvit, thank you for that update. back with bill karins with the latest on superstorm sandy. you're watching msnbc.
welcome back to msnbc's continuing coverage of superstorm sandy. i'm chris jansing. here is the latest. the death toll is climbing. at least 16 people are now confirmed dead as a result of hurricane sandy. flooding and damage are extensive. 7.1 million homes and businesses are without power up and down the eastern seaboard. now, keep in mind that one home is considered a customer, so you can easily add millions more to the number of people who are without power. 170 firefighters here in new york are battling a four-alarm
fire in breezy point, queens. more than 50 homes have been destroyed. and new york city subway system remains shut down after extensive flooding. on the phone now aaron donovan, a spokesman for the metropolitan transit authority. good morning. >> good morning. >> what's the latest you can tell us on the situation and how widespread it seems to be? >> well, the new york city system, subway system is shut down. this is a level of devastation that we experienced last night, has seldom faced, if ever in the 108 years of the system. there's been water reported in the tunnels underneath the east river that connect manhattan with brooklyn. that's seven separate subway tunnels. each of which has some amount of water from the ocean that's corrosive, salt water which is very damaging and we will begin the process, have begun the progress of assessing the amount of damage so we can begin to
identify how to restore service as quickly as we can. >> just to give people who may not even live in new york, but to give them a sense of just how bad this is because we had heard it from the mta chairman the other day, when he talked about the effects of saltwater on a 108-year-old subway system, how bad could it be? >> well, there's lots of components of our infrastructure that are very vulnerable to corrosion and saltwater, just the rails themselves, the third rail, which is the -- what we use to power the trains with the electricity and we have the signal system itself is electronic. all of -- any of those are very susceptible. not only that, lots of aboveground components besides this are vulnerable. simply trees being down over across tracks can prevent our subways from moving and our trains in suburban commuter rails from moving. so we're going to be assessing that, as well. >> and i had seen reports
earlier that it could be a matter of hours to days before you could get the water out of those subway tunnels. how do you even go about that? >> well, we have -- we have trains that go in and pump the water from the tunnels. equipment, heavy equipment that can come in and pump the tunnels and that process by itself can take anywhere from 14 hours to four days. depending on how much water and what the precise conditions are. >> all of that is a prelude to the question that all new yorkers and even visitors would like to know, which is how long is it likely to be before at least some subways are up and running and what's the worst case scenario you're seeing right now? >> they're both very good questions. i hesitate to put a time frame on the restoration of service, either partial service or worst case scenario at this early juncture. we will certainly update everyone as soon as we have a better sense and it's taking place right now, the level of
assessment and evaluation but at this point very difficult to say, it can be a matter of days and only time will tell, i'm afraid. >> and what about the bus service? >> well, bus service also, we were able to relocate buses away from those low-lying bus garages and depots where they can be stored up to higher ground, have not seen a high level of bus damage, so that may be away for us to bring back service, more quickly, but i don't have specifics on the conditions that might bring -- let us bring it back or when. >> but fair to say mass transit is down for another day in new york city, meaning tuesday. >> yes, more or less correct, certainly the case as far as it seems right now. >> aaron donovan, thank you very much for the update. later in the morning we will be hearing not just from mta officials but expect to hear from mayor bloomberg, as well. so we'll keep you posted throughout the day. this storm has killed at least one person in the washington,
d.c. area. i want to bring back melissa mollet with our station wrc in washington, d.c. and she is in alexander, virginia. we got cut off from you the last time you were reporting but give us a sense of how things are looking there right now. >> well, good morning, chris. you can see, let me first show you this tree behind me. look how massive this thing is. we are in alexandria, virginia. you can see how large it is as i stand next to it. this is a neighborhood that lost power last night. who knows who they'll get it back on. they are just some of the hundreds of thousands of people in this region without power. if we kind of pan around, you can see it is completely dark. let's walk across the street and see another tree that is down. our numbers right now and the d.c., maryland, virginia area are 200,000 people out of power. i've got to tell you the winds were whipping through like crazy last night. this is no surprise and, of course, this is something that we're seeing all along the east coast.
now, this area, in particular, supposed to get more wind and perhaps more rain, we're under a flood advisory, a coastal flood advisory right now and that extends into the afternoon, but you can just see all kinds of debris here on the ground still crews doing their best to get things out of the way to chop things and move them out of the street so the roads are passable but, unfortunately, still some debris and people going to be out of power possibly for some time. live in alexandria, virginia, melissa mollet for wrc. >> i'm reminded by one of my producers at msnbc that a number of deaths have been caused by falling trees and searle of them were people who were actually inside their homes and so one of the things that officials have been warning especially if you're in an area where the high winds are still going and remember those root systems if you've had a lot of rain, make it more susceptible to a tree toppling over you should stay away from the windows.
the worst of this storm has passed through this immediate area but just a word to the wise that they've had devastation. at 10:00 this morning i am told governor chris christie of new jersey will be having a news conference. his state inundated by the flooding and the coastal areas have beenterrible. the connecticut governor will have a news conference, as well, at 8:30 this morning. so we'll continue to get updates throughout the day. as i said we're expecting to hear from officials in new york city. mayor bloomberg has been very forthcoming, andro cuomo, the governor so we'll continue to bring those to you as they happen. in the meantime, live to nbc meteorologist bill karins tracking this storm all night and, bill, what's the latest? >> chris, you briefed me. i stepped away for a little bit and i can't believe we're up to 50 homes now that burned in that big blaze in breezy point, queens, i mean, that was just
incredible pictures that are coming out of that area and that devastation and we just -- really hope these people got out of the way. they got the evacuation order, what some people are calling a little late. so i know there were some people that did not leave this area even though they were in evacuation zone a along the beach. this is a narrow strip of beach stated by the bay and the ocean. and the firefighters whether they got there had very little water pressure to fight this blaze. you could see the wins going at probably 40 to 60-mile-per-hour gusts so in other words the firefighters had little hope. they were probably just trying to save anyone's lives they possibly could in the area if they needed to be saved. the only thing stopping that blaze was the ocean. once it got there and had nothing else to burn because it looked like it swept right across the peninsula and, again, this is right near jfk airport on the atlantic side heading toward right on the queens area and that's an area i was just in about three weeks ago, and some gorgeous, beautiful homes, nice little community out there that
looks like a lot of good chunk of it just gone. let me show you the storm. again, we're about to approach the next high tide cycle as we go throughout the daybreak hours. we will have some minor damage from this high tide cycle but nothing like we had last night. 95% of the total damage that sandy will cause has already happened. we still got a little more issues out there. we still got some more trees that will fall and this storm is just incredibly still huge. this is the envelope of how big the storm is. goes up to the hudson bay in canada all the way to cloud shield and the windy conditions from wisconsin to illinois down through tennessee, atlanta and then the rainy heart of the system continues to plague the mid-atlantic and into the northeast. about a third of this country is still covered by this superstorm we're calling sandy. wind advisories continue for many areas, even wind warnings going around philadelphia, baltimore. buffalo, pittsburgh and cleveland, you had some damage yesterday from the winds and
people lost power. that's going to continue today but the area of greatest concern hit the hardest along the jersey shore, still on and off periods of rain this morning with that light green but it does look like at least long island is starting to see improvement along with connecticut and the winds still gusting at about 38 in philadelphia, 23 in atlantic city, not sure that gauge is working anymore in wilmington because it's been 55 for awhile. the other wind gusts are down in the 20s, the 30s in the mid-atlantic. looks like it's very safe to get out there and start your cleanup through maryland, delaware and virginia and even new england is looking okay. we didn't deal with too much river flooding. 6 to 10 inches of rain but it was spread out about 24 to 36 hours so we're done with that. the other tiny piece of damage that's going to occur today is going to be from the snow. we've already picked up about a foot of it. can you believe we're talking about a hurricane causing a snowstorm and blizzard over areas of west virginia but it's not advised. interstate 68, chris, is closed through the state of west virginia.
it's -- don't get stranded in your car because it will snow hard for another 24 hours. ohio, your state of ohio, chris, now with snow and windy conditions. i mean from a hurricane. >> this -- it's crazy. i don't ever remember -- we were talking about this earlier when do you ever have these kinds of winter storm warnings as a result of a hurricane. >> the other thing i keep forgetting about, right now the windchill in is the 30s where people don't have power so waking up with no power and they're cold. >> you know, i've been up all night so i forget who said it but one of the local reporters who covered so many hurricanes said -- had never been in a hurricane this cold that was absolutely brutal being out there reporting on it. it's going to be a lot worse for people in the coming days who don't have power and see all the devastation that has befallen the area. bill karins, thank you very much. he's been up all night with us. when we come back we'll take a look at what's going on in new jersey with the mayor of asbury park.
we're back with our live
coverage on msnbc and to give you a sense of the devastation in new jersey, listen to a few of these numbers. nearly 2.2 million homes are without power. three adults were killed. two children hurt. all of them in accidents involving trees. there are thousands of people who are still in shelters. we want to go to asbury park. anybody who is a bruce springsteen fan knows about it. ed johnson is the mayor there. how are things looking at 4:46 a.m.? >> we have some severe damage here in asbury park. i'm in the middle of touring the city with a police officer and we have large trees down. there's power out around the city. power lines down. there's been severe damage to our boardwalk and oceanfront area. it's really a devastating scene. >> give us a sense of what you're seeing. can you give us some descriptions? >> well, i'm actually sitting here on third avenue right now.
there is a huge tree across the street which is blocking the entire -- our entire way. there are several of our largest trees around the city that have come down. there are lines down. there are light poles that have snapped into two and bent. it is really something i have never seen before. >> we've been talking all through the night and into the early morning hours with mayors and members of congress and all of them, of course, preparing for the worst and that's what most of them got. as bad or worse than their worst expectations. is this even worse than you might have expected, mr. mayor? >> absolutely. i mean, you know, you have to remember a year ago we faced an earthquake and a hurricane all in one week. this is the most devastating thing i have ever seen. it has really caused severe damage throughout our city. we do not have power. our police force is out surveying with our fire department and just assessing the damage right now throughout
the city. but at sun up, i think we are going to see one of the most devastating scenes at the jersey shore ever. >> the good news that we've also been hearing from some places amidst all the devastation is that fewer reports than we might have expected, at least at this point, of deaths and injuries, any word of anyone being hurt or trapped in asbury park? >> at this point, we've not had any deaths or injuries. i think our evacuation plans beforehand worked very well. we have evacuated 225 individuals to local county shelters, several hundred more heeded the call to evacuate and our residents just hunkered down in safe spots so i think our preparations really did pay off in this case. >> asbury park mayor ed johnson, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us and good luck to you in the coming days.
and when we come back we'll take you to long island. hundreds of thousands of people without power, waterfronts devastated. homes falling into the ocean. you're watching msnbc. so, what hap
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844,000 people out on long island are without power this morning and in some sections near long beach and mill neck they're being told not to drink the water.
let me bring in anna kate twitty at the american red cross. i understand you are on long island now. what can you tell us? >> yes, i'm currently on long island right now. the american red cross has launched a multistate large response effort for this storm which is now no longer a hurricane, it's a superstorm. but we have deployed in 1300 volunteers but our number one priority now is the safety and shelter of those folks that are evacuated. we have over 100 red cross operated or supported shelters across the east coast, in fact, i actually just spent the entire day at one of our shelters in nassau county community college and a wonderful thing to see how happy people are in the shelters that they did leave their homes. there was a little fear they're not sure what they'll return to but just the safety, the fact
they have their lives and their loved ones and in knowing that they have the red cross to be there for emotional support for a hug, for a warm meal, for a warm blanket. so right now our number one priority is sheltering those clients. our next priority -- >> let me just stop you there. if i can, anna kate, i want to show this picture you tweeted a short time ago which was bedtime at that shelter at nassau county community college and there's a darling picture of a little child sleeping. more than 500 people at that shelter alone, is that right. >> >> yes, that's correct. you know what, this same shelter -- that same girl that was right there, i talked to her pom for a little while this evening. and they actually came to this exact same shelter a year ago during hurricane irene, so they knew what to do. they knew exactly when to leave. they got there immediately once they were advised to leave. so we're really proud of these
folks in the shelter and, you know, they just seem to be having a good time. they are in a safe place. they've got warm meals and they've got the support of the american red cross to get them through these hard times, because when they go home, they don't know what they're going to expect. they could go home to severe flooding and severe damage to their homes so having that safety net right now is so important. >> well, besides the shelters which obviously are critically important and could continue to be so because as you say of flooding and we're hearing that some of these power outages could be long term, what are the priorities of the services that the red cross will provide in the next couple of days? >> yes, we've already gone ahead and told them and pre-positioned over 100 emergency response vehicles and thousands of relief supplies, cots, blanket, food and deployed odd thousand of volunteers so once it's safe for the volunteers to go out into the affected areas they'll go
out in disaster teams and what they'll do is they'll make sure people when they're cleaning up, that emergency responders and cleanup crews are going to have hot meals to eat, beverages to drink while they're cleaning up their homes. we're also going to make sure that people have relief supplies to clean up their homes, in addition, we have trained mental health counselors to make sure people have that emotional support and also that they have their support network to get through the coming days and the coming weeks and coming months. >> anna kate twitty with the american red cross that is always there with we see these disasters, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us and good luck to you. we are getting closer to daybreak and start to see the real extent of the damage done by sandy. we'll have an update including all the latest numbers coming up.